Thursday, March 29, 2001

Tristate A.M. Report

Statement allowed in murder trial

        A jury will be allowed to hear an incriminating statement made by a Cincinnati barber who is accused of killing his ex-girlfriend.

        Tony Ringer, 30, is charged with aggravated murder in the December shooting death of Cassandra Betts. Mr. Ringer told police in a taped statement that he accidentally shot Ms. Betts during an argument.

        But Mr. Ringer, who has pleaded not guilty, asked a judge to throw out the statement, saying his attorney had invoked his right to remain silent.

        Common Pleas Judge Richard Niehaus ruled Wednesday that Mr. Ringer's lawyer could not invoke his rights for him. The judge also concluded that Mr. Ringer voluntarily waived his rights before making his statement to police.

        Ms. Betts, 25, of Fairfield, was shot to death in her car on Dec. 20. Prosecutors say Mr. Ringer called Ms. Betts, who was pregnant, to arrange a meeting so he could kill her.

Insurer parts ways with pharmacy chain

        Effective March 31, Humana/ChoiceCare, one of Greater Cincinnati's largest health insurers, will no longer cover prescriptions filled at CVS pharmacies.

        Humana/ChoiceCare includes about 330,000 Tristate members in various health plans. CVS lists 56 pharmacies in the Cincinnati Bell White Pages.

        The change is the result of collapsed contract talks. CVS did not accept terms offered by Humana, so the insurer decided not to renew its contract with the pharmacy chain, said Humana/ChoiceCare spokesman Jose Marques.

        The insurer's pharmacy network still includes Kroger, Wal-Mart, Walgreen's, Winn-Dixie/Thriftway and several independent pharmacies.

        “We could not agree to the reduced reimbursement they wanted to offer us,” said Mike DeAngelis, CVS spokesman.

Man pleads guilty in cousin's death

        HAMILTON — Jerry Robinson pleaded guilty Wednesday to involuntary manslaughter in connection with the 1999 slaying of his cousin.

        Judge Michael Sage of Butler County Common Pleas Court sentenced him to two years in prison. That sentence must be served after Mr. Robinson completes the five-year sentence he is serving on federal drug charges.

        Marcus Robinson, 44, of Middletown, died from head injuries on Oct. 14, 1999 after a fight with Jerry Robinson, his cousin. The two men had been raised together.

Grand jury examines theft allegations

        MIDDLETOWN — Former Lebanon Councilman Michael Coyan could face indictment on two counts of felony theft.

        Mr. Coyan, former executive director of Arts in Middletown, is accused of taking $11,000 in paychecks from the arts organization for work he did not perform, and $7,000 through credit card misuse.

        Judge Mark Wall of Middletown Municipal Court determined this week there was sufficient evidence to send the case to a Butler County grand jury.

Hospital upgrades tumor treatments

        Doctors at the Neuroscience Institute at University Hospital said Wednesday they have upgraded their ability to treat brain and spinal cord tumors.

        In 1999, the Neuroscience Institute became the first hospi tal in North America to install the Lexar radio-surgery system, made by Radionics Inc. and Siemens Medical Systems Inc. The $1.5 million system, located on the lower level of the Barrett Cancer Center, can aim radiation beams more accurately than ever before.

        At first, the device was limited to treating tumors in the brain. But on Wednesday, doctors reported success treating a tumor in the neck growing along the spinal cord. Previously, radiation could not be aimed precisely enough to treat such tumors without causing damage to sensitive nearby tissue.

County awards ballpark contracts

        MayersElectric will provide electric hookups and wiring for Great American Ball Park, after Hamilton County commissioners awarded the Cincinnati company a $19.3 million contract Wednesday.

[photo] SITTING DOWN FOR SEDER: Covington Latin School's Alexander Crocker-Lakness, 13, pours symbolic wine (grape juice) as he and classmate Robert Lambert, 13, take part Wednesday in a Seder at Plum Street Temple downtown. The American Jewish Committee Community Intergroup Seder anticipates Passover. The holiday begins at sundown April 7 and recalls the freeing of Jewish slaves from Egypt.
(Glenn Hartong photo)
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        In addition, Mayers will provide power connections to pumps in flood wells circling the Reds' new home and provide fixtures for the stadium and the Hall of Fame.

        Also on Wednesday, commissioners awarded a $492,000 contract to Norwood Hardware — a certified small business — to provide flood doors and frames at the ballpark. Norwood Hardware, the only bidder, provided the same service at Paul Brown Stadium.

Hearing invites bikeway comments

        LEBANON — A hearing today will seek public comment on a planned bikeway from downtown Lebanon to the Little Miami Scenic Trail.

        The 7-mile trail will start at the train station on South Street and run past the Countryside YMCA.

        Construction on the $2.8 million project, in the works for about a dozen years, is scheduled to begin in 2003, Lebanon Planning Director Marty Kohler said. The state Department of Transportation will foot most of the bill.

        The hearing will be 4 to 7 p.m. in the north board meeting room at the Countryside Y, 1699 Deerfield Road.

Man indicted in shooting death

        HAMILTON — Keyawn Jackson has been indicted on murder, involuntary manslaughter and felonious assault charges in connection with the fatal shooting of one man and the wounding of another.

        Mr. Jackson, 21, of Hamilton, is accused of killing 25-year-old Damon Collier, of Hamilton, at the Mahogany Lounge on Front Street in Hamilton in the early morning hours of Feb. 16.

        A Butler County grand jury also indicted Mr. Jackson on the following charges: illegal possession of a firearm, illegally possessing a weapon, five counts of trafficking in cocaine, four counts of possession of cocaine and three counts of trafficking in counterfeit controlled substances.

Student suspended for removing mercury

        SHEFFIELD LAKE, Ohio — A student who took mercury from a school science lab so that he could play with it has been suspended for 10 days and faces possible expulsion.

        Rob Dickens, 18, is to return to classes at the Lorain County Joint Vocational School in Oberlin, west of Cleveland, on April 9, but he could be recommended for expulsion at a hearing next week.

        Mr. Dickens said Tuesday he didn't mean any harm by taking the 5 ounces of mercury, never realizing it is a toxic substance.

        The mercury was brought onto a Sheffield/Sheffield Lake school bus carrying 47 students March 21. Since then, officials inspected 43 homes in Sheffield Lake, Sheffield Village and Eaton Township looking for traces of mercury.


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Kentucky News Briefs
- Tristate A.M. Report